Wow... been hiking these mountains and canyons steady for over three years and though I've often looked over into this drainage I simply thought of it as probably a wash wallow with a hyper steep, over grown wall at the end. But, now that I am filling my days with these exploratory hikes, it came time to make my way into and up this cut. I figured I'd go in, be back out in a couple of hours, then move over and explore the next ridge system.
Part of the aspect that made this unappealing was the encroaching development right in the mouth of the canyon... yet once beyond the few houses over there, the hike became immediately interesting. There was an old quarry with massive slabs still left tumbled about... and the overhanging walls rapidly closed in with occasional cut through glimpses at the towering cliffs of the Mesa, far overhead. The sculpted rocks walls down adjacent to the drainage bottom were constantly changing. This was nothing like what I had imagined.
then, around a turn, the canyon closed into solid rock defile with winding narrows just a few yards wide, then a few feet wide... there was a mini-slot section, complete with dripping spring walls and shallow pools.
The miles continued with more and more surprises... too many waterfalls to climb to keep track of, and the route never choked out. I was able to make it all the way up to the amphitheatre, a formation I'd noted many times from afar and always assumed could not be reached. Once there, I was only a few hundred feet below Hershberger Peak, and the route up to it's western meadowed slope was clear. I hiked up through the snow to just below the peak, then connected with the ridge leading back down to the Mesa... and hit Big Peak, Little Peak and then RockaChucky Wash, with a little extra downclimb to RockaChucky Fall, then an additional up climb to the top of Prominent Point above the old Jeep Track... right above my house.
Nice day, with delightful discoveries... This canyon hike is nicer than any hike I've done in the Tucson area, in the sense of variety of moment... and with that special aspect of moving up and over rock, if that is what you enjoy. It does it for me.
How this hike escaped the local hiking guides is beyond me...
Total time out: 9.5 hours...